Sauvie Sundress Hack - Color-Blocked Patchwork Sauvie!

Windsor, a midsize white woman, standing in front a white wall, wearing a multicolored linen patchwork Sauvie Sundress

Hi there! It's me, Windsor, the newest face here at Sew House Seven. I've been learning the ropes and working alongside Peggy since June, and I wanted to finally introduce myself! I'm a self taught sewist, I first dabbled in sewing in high school and since then sewing has been integral to my life in many ways. I have spent time as a production sewist and leatherworker, a quilter, an heirloom craft school owner/operator, a retail fabric sales clerk, and most recently I ran the Sewing Education program at Bolt Fabric Boutique here in Portland, OR. It was during my time at Bolt that I first started learning to sew garments, and I was instantly hooked!  I bring all of the skills that I learned in all my other sewing-related roles to my garment sewing, and I think that adds a playful and experimental touch to my garments. 


With a nod to my first sewing love, quilting, it's pattern hack time! We all know that when you sew your own clothes you end up with tons of fabric scraps. Since many of us turn to sewing to be more sustainable and climate conscious, this "waste" can come to feel like a burden. There are so many options of projects to make with your garment fabric scraps, from quilts, to pillows, to undies, tote bags, napkins and more. Today we want to get into the magical world of color-blocking. This project is a straightforward and simple, yet visually striking pattern hack - a color-blocked patchwork Sauvie Sundress


For this project you will need:

  • Fabric scraps - I chose light to midweight linen, almost any size scrap can work! It's best if your scraps are all roughly the same weight and drape.
  • Sauvie Sundress pattern
  • Tracing paper 
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Sundries from the pattern

Let's get to it!


A line drawing of the Sauvie Sundress, with multicolored swatches of fabric mocked up as a patchwork dress1. The first step is conceptualizing what you want your patchwork to look like, I collected a whole mess of linen scraps and played around with different pattern, color and texture combinations. I knew I wanted to make a maxi version, with the ruffle. I cut tiny swatches and laid them out on the pattern line drawing to try to get an idea of how I wanted the proportions of the color-blocking to fit within the pattern pieces. This part is all about play and experimentation. Use whatever tools you are most comfortable with to visualize on the pattern - colored pencils, Illustrator, fabric scraps, etc. There are no wrong answers, whatever you like is perfect.

I chose to keep my patchwork relatively simple and all straight line seams, but you could choose to use more organic shapes, a traditional quilt block motif, or varying horizontal strips of fabric...there are really so many options!  


The Front Dress pattern piece from the Sauvie Sundress, with tracing paper laid on top. A hand is tracing the pattern with a pencil2. Now that we have an idea of what we are going for with our patchwork, it's time to trace out the pattern. If you know you will want to make any fit adjustments to the pattern, make sure that you mark them on your traced pattern pieces.


 The traced front dress pattern piece from the Sauvie Sundress. A hand is using a pencil to show a line bisecting the pattern piece.3. For the purpose of this tutorial I will show exactly what I did, but the world is your oyster! Get wild with your patchwork if you want! To start, I decided I would cut each half of the FRONT DRESS (1) separately, instead of on the fold. Then I cut the FRONT DRESS (1) piece at the lengthen/shorten line, creating a bodice and a skirt piece. I divided the skirt piece roughly in half lengthwise. I drew all of these edits in using a pencil and a ruler on my traced pattern piece, and then cut the pattern piece on those lines. I marked each spot where I would have to add seam allowance, but you could also retrace each piece with the additional seam allowance. I used a 5/8" seam allowance for consistency. Since these seams are not necessary for fitting you could use as small as a 1/4" SA, but be sure to use the same seam allowance throughout. I made the same edits for the BACK DRESS (2).


The front dress pattern piece of the Sauvie Sundress, with edits



Marking the seam allowance and cutting lines for the front bodice pattern piece of the Sauvie Sundress, on top of a scrap of linen fabric.4. Then I cut out all my many fabric pieces! I did this section by section, not wanting to confuse all my new pattern pieces. So, I cut out two opposite bodice fronts, two opposite left front skirt pieces, and two opposite right front skirt pieces (plus the same for all the BACK DRESS pieces.) Don't forget your seam allowances! After cutting out all my pieces, I serged all the raw edges, but if you are patient and want a really clean finish inside, you can french seam them all (you will just need to be mindful that you give yourself large enough seam allowances.)  


Patchwork FRONT DRESS Piece 5. Next I sewed all my patchwork pieces up into the original FRONT DRESS (1), and pressed my seams open. I checked this against the original pattern piece, making sure it was the correct size and all my notches were in the proper places. 


Patchwork BACK BODICE (2)6. Repeat for the BACK DRESS (2) pattern pieces. Double check all your notches!


Pocket Piece (6)7. At this point I cut out all of my smaller pattern pieces: 2 STRAPS (8), 2 POCKET FACES (6), 2 POCKET PIECES (7), 1 FRONT LINING (3) on the fold, and 1 BACK LINING (4) on the fold. I used smaller scraps for each of these pieces as well. 


Patchwork Dress Ruffle Piece 8. For the ruffle, I used the chart in the pattern. I made a size 16 from the standard size range, so I knew that my 2 RUFFLE PIECES (9A) needed to be 48" x 14" and I just started sewing 14" tall rectangular scraps together until I had two 48" by 14" pieces. 

Patchwork Ruffle Piece (9A)9. Now that we have all of our pattern pieces accounted for, we can just sew up the dress according to the pattern instructions or the sewalong


 Windsor, standing next to a brightly lit window, in her patchwork Sauvie SundressHere is my finished patchwork Sauvie Sundress, thanks for following along, and I hope this tutorial helps!